Do Not Condemn or Be Condemned

Colossians 2:16-23

16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. 19 They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.

20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

The issue in context is how the church at Colossae is to navigate the cultural pressures they encounter that would seek to draw them away from Christ. Some of these pressures would be applied by family, some by their religious community, some by the government, some at work and some from friends. The pressure works because all people are a work in progress, their hearts require strength! The religious community especially takes advantage of this and seeks to judge those who act differently and view them as bad, evil etc.

Paul has focused on the superiority of Christ as a source of: Revelation,

Salvation and


Therefore, because some have left Christ, as Paul says, some are v.19 disconnected from the head. They are headless! But they continue to assert themselves as authorities. Our passage fits into this understanding and Paul says:


  1. Do Not Let Others Judge You
  2. What does judging mean?

Matthew 7:

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

(Deal with your own weaknesses, this will give you the empathy to help others without condemning them!)

“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

(How do we determine who the “dogs” are? Same question relative to pigs.)

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Is fruit inspection judging? Think carefully.

Consider the following beatitudes and how they will impact our “judging” of other people.

Blessed are the poor in spirit

Blessed are the gentle

Blessed are the merciful

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness


God has abilities and therefore does things that we cannot do!

Romans 14:

1 Accept the one whose faith is weak,

without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything

must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything

must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.

Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall.

And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike.

Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord.

Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.

13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.

14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But

if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love.


  1. Some have authority and ability to judge




Governmental Rulers




Actions vs hearts: Spiritual vs behavioral

Ecclesiastes: A time and place for everything

Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God.



Compare with v. 22 22 These rules, which have to do with                things that are all destined to perish with use



  1. Wrath, chastisement, blessing and cursing

Correction vs Condemnation

Actions vs. Character

Situational vs. Eternal



  1. Jesus Has Taken Your Judgement
  2. 20 Since you died with Christ …


  1. It does no good to judge the dead

Romans 7:      

1 Do you not know, brothers and sisters—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives?

So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.


  1. Jesus death has freed us from judgement

        Set up: Romans 7: 21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

        Romans 8: 1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.


  1. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant

There are many items mentioned in this passage that indicate that some of the people troubling those in Colossae come from a Jewish background and they want them to follow the entire law.


Political or national: Never have or will apply to Gentiles

Religious or sacrificial: Completely fulfilled in Christ. Not practiced since 70 AD. What about the festivals? Passover for instance? First fruits for example?

Ethical or moral: These are a reflection of the character of God, and Jesus extends these!!!

Old covenant requirements are fulfilled in us. What do we do to be a part of this? We trust Christ. We follow His teaching and example. And in doing so, we actually will surpass the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees. Matt 5 the law. Matt 6 righteousness. Matt 7 judging!

III. Do What Restrains Sensual Indulgence

The trouble with following religious ritual mindlessly is that it doesn’t help us. Matt 6. Doing these disciplines for the sake of being seen by other people. “Acts of righteousness” done for the wrong reason make you unrighteous!

Think and act big picture. The solution for any sin problem is to follow Jesus rather than our thinking or desires. Aim for that!

  1. We have different weaknesses

        Follow the law of love!

Do not put a stumbling block in another’s way.

Be considerate, humble and serve others.


Be careful to nurture the faith of people who think      differently than you.

If you can talk about Scripture, do that. But always for both of you, agree that the way forward is to follow Jesus Christ and pray for one another!!


  1. Encourage spiritual disciplines for this purpose

        Matthew 6 is your eye clear? Sure it is! Ok, what are you anxious about? Seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness.



  1. Build each other up

        Matt 7 foundation

        Ephesians 2 corporate building inhabited by the Holy Spirit         built on Jesus and the Apostles

        Follow the Scripture as led by the Holy Spirit!

        II Tim 3: 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.


Hallowed be Thy name

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven

Give us this day our daily bread

Forgive us

We forgive others

Lead us not into temptation

Deliver us from evil

You have all authority in heaven and on earth. All praise, honor and glory rightfully belongs to you. May my life reflect this.


I don’t have time to give emotional energy to what others think about how I submit to the cultural mores of the day. I am used up following Jesus Christ.